Police warn farmworkers ahead of protests

2012-11-29 22:14

Cape Town - Western Cape police are ready for anything protesting farmworkers can throw at them, provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer said on Thursday.

"From our side, we will ensure the safety of everybody. We will ensure the law is being adhered to," he said at a briefing in Cape Town.

"Those who transgress the law will be charged and will be prosecuted."

Lamoer said the provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Joints) was on alert and ready to deal with any eventuality.

Joints involves the departments of justice, home affairs, and correctional services, and the National Prosecuting Authority.

A coalition of farmworkers and their unions announced on Thursday that they would continue protest action on Tuesday over a wage demand of R150 a day and improved living conditions.

Previous protests by farmworkers this month caused chaos and destruction in 16 towns, including De Doorns, Wolseley and Ceres. Two people were killed and many buildings and vineyards were set alight.

Workers suspended their strike until Tuesday on condition that the employment condition commission (ECC) look at the sectoral determination for agriculture.

However, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced this week that it was impossible to meet the deadline. She said the sectoral determination was put in place in March this year and by law, could only be reviewed again in 12 months.

Representatives of both sides have been in negotiations since the strike was suspended.

After Oliphant's announcement, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape accused her of undermining these talks and said the news could renew strikes.

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said that should a strike go ahead, it would most likely lead to violence and death.

"This strike... can set back labour relations on farms by decades and could see a reversal to the low-level civil war we all witnessed on farms a few weeks ago," he said.

Lamoer said on Thursday that intelligence structures were "working on the ground" to gather information for an action plan, with the provincial command centre to assess all information on the day.

He said the public order unit was on standby and would be deployed from Sunday. If needed, police officers would be moved in from other provinces.

All rural areas would be monitored and units deployed as necessary. De Doorns and Wolseley were two hotspots identified.

Senior commanders would be sent to take charge and the air unit would assist with moving officers around.

Disaster management and traffic police would lend a hand where necessary.

Magistrate's courts in the vicinity had been warned of a potential increase in their case-loads and would arrange the court roll on a priority basis.

The commissioner brushed off criticism that the police had been caught unprepared by the first wave of protests.

"What we must understand is that these strikers change their tactics all over, and we learn every day from it," he said.

"This time around there were lessons learned, and we dealt with it, and we will ensure the same thing does not happen again, but we all know they will come with different tactics again."

Lamoer was asked if any order had been made to use live rounds.

"Members know they must use minimum force, but if their lives are in danger, they can go over to the force that will justify [minimising] threats against their lives."

Wolseley resident Michael Daniels, 28, was allegedly shot dead by police two weeks ago during a protest. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is probing the death.

On Wednesday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille asked Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to send army troops to help police in rural areas.

She said the troops could play a "peace-keeping role" and make sure no further violence erupted. She said she had approached Lamoer with her request.

The commissioner confirmed receiving a call from Zille, in which she asked him to request the deployment.

"I stated to her very clearly that the SA Police Service resources are good enough to deal with that, and from my side I will not call for the army. It's not my call," he said.

He questioned her use of the term "peace-keeping", and said only the United Nations could call for peace-keeping in war-zones through the African Union.

"We are not a country at war, so there will be no peace-keeping deployment."

He conceded that Zille had perhaps accidentally used the wrong term.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-11-29 22:26

    If you destroy somebody's farm and the source of the income of its workers/owner you should be held liable. Criminally and civilly. If you acted because of the instigation of a certain individual (perhaps going by the name Tony Ehrenreich) that individual should be held liable. He and his organisation. But he first. It's coming. Apparently he is quite well-off, materially that is.

      lownabester - 2012-11-29 22:51

      This bloody Tony idiot is hell bend on having his way, Fransman, him and tina must get out of our province.

      scloete12 - 2012-11-29 22:51

      AMEN!!! Wow SA is a slippery slope into anarchy ...folks wear your helmets and bullet proof vest, this going to be a rocky ride...good luck

      john.rhodes.12576 - 2012-11-30 05:03

      @kagiso, where are they supposed to get the money to pay them??? Do your homework! You will see farming is one of the least profitable businesses in South Africa. I suppose in the new South Africa no white person is allowed to make ANY profit!!

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 06:40

      Yes, Kagiso. Pay them more, but then kick them out of free housing, take away free schooling, and make them commute to work. Betcha they'll be worse off.

      sean.noble1 - 2012-11-30 07:40

      Kagiso, if you knew what was happening you would make legible comments, but let me take the time to explain to you whats happening. 0% of the permanent farmworkers are part of the strike as in not a single one of them. They have all come forward saying they are happy and content. So who are striking? Cosatu is wheeling in "farmworkers on busses" to fill up the couple of temporary farm workers that the farmers are forced to use during harvest time. These "Temporary workers" want more money becuase they are not employed full time, and because the farmers are giving all the temporary work to Zimbabwean and other foreign nationals as they are more diligent workers. But the underlying cuase of the strikes are not even the above, its the fact that the ANC and Cosatu are hoping to unsettle the western cape before the coming elections by trying to "appear" to be fighting for the common man on the ground. They know that these farmers work on a margin and if they have to pay more one of two things are going to happen 1. The farmer has to mechanize and people will loose their jobs. 2. The farmer keeps the employees raises the wages food prices go up and with it inflation rendering any money gained by the strikes useless. (simple economics at play) If you don't believe that then listen to what Gill Marcus told the unions, look at whats going to happen in the mining sector, sure now they all get paid more, but 1000's are going to get laid off.

  • kharnyge - 2012-11-29 22:33

    "Western Cape police are ready for anything protesting farmworkers can throw at them"

      lj.roos - 2012-11-30 17:30


  • WILDSBOK - 2012-11-29 22:43

    Tony Ehrenreich is the brown Malema of SA. What n dump ass....

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 06:44

      Sibusiso. Go to Athlone on a Friday. Walk up to anyone in a fez. Tell him he's black. Try the same thing with anyone in the Plein. See what happens. Coloured is a culture, a nation and an identity. Coloured people are 'vannie Kaap' in the best possible way. Being associated with the idiocy in the rest of SA doesn't appeal to most people in the Cape - including the coloureds and muslims. Most of the BROWN people from the Cape don't like the millions of ANC 'refugees' any more than anyone else in the Cape. Try again bro. I am proud to have dated BROWN people. Proud to call them my friends. Proud to have a BROWN nephew. Don't diminish their culture or identity by lumping them in with yours. It's offensive, and it shows ZERO respect for their hundreds of years worth of heritage.

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 06:52

      And for the record, my BROWN boyfriend of eight years always used to tell me how he was never good enough for the white people under apartheid, and never good for the ANC after. The dude couldn't get a bursary from EITHER government. He designed and built electronics for the observatory at Sutherland, but he wasn't good enough for either government. Don't EVER assume that the new South Africa is beneficial to everybody that suffered under apartheid. It isn't, and that's another offensive and incorrect assumption. Of all the people in SA today, I feel MOST sorry for the brown people, because they've been shafted by TWO successive racist regimes. Shame on you.

      sean.noble1 - 2012-11-30 07:52

      Handbag as my tjomma's joke around, under the old guvment they were too black under the new guvment they are too white. BTW sibusiso under the official legislation we have Black White Indian and Coloured.

      Sibusiso - 2012-11-30 08:37

      Unlike the term 'Coloured', the term 'brown' does not appear anywhere in our legislation.Interestingly ,in America ,black people were once referred to as Coloreds and they subsequently rejected the term as it had been imposed by the slavemaster.

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 08:48

      Indeed Sean. In the new SA, if you're not 'Black African' (capitalised intentionally) you're just not good enough. Coloured, Indian, mixed race? Screw you. They don't make distinction between English and Afrikaans either. If you're white, you're a boer. Culture is important to everyone, but the ANC and their minions don't seem to give a flying whatever about any 'culture' but theirs. (Inverted commas intentional.)

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 08:59

      I thought it was all black and white... you stutter?

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 09:01

      Also, Sibu, my bru, offer any of the African Americans (yes, that's what they call themselves) the opportunity to trade places... see what they say. The coloured term may be interchangeable elsewhere, but in South Africa, it's the term for MILLIONS of born and bred South Africans. Best you start respecting that, and their culture. They are NOT black lite.

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 09:10

      I do find it amusing when people talk about slave masters and colonialists on the internet. That's a tool of the white masters, innit? You think hard about this while you drive home to your western style house, around the braai, or while sexting your ladyfriend? Do you think Malema talks about the colonialist heritage of Johnny Walker while he guzzles it like a dehydrated piggy? Hmmm... can you say 'double standards?'

      Sibusiso - 2012-11-30 09:24

      Ok white people ,we agree ,u created everything even the universe.So what should we do?Compose songs about that and sing and clap everyrime we come across you?Leave us alone.We never asked for anything from u when we first came into contact with u.But guess what,we got more than what we bargained for.U treated everything that was not white with disdain ,incl Coloureds.

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 17:17

      Actually, bro, read your comments, then read mine. There's one person who thinks the sun shines out of their 'correctly coloured' behind here, and it's not me.

  • scloete12 - 2012-11-29 22:44

    how sad that south africans have become so unruly, how sad that all the hard work since 1994 means nothing to people, by distroying buildings and people's lives just put you all back another 100 years...

      carpejugulim - 2012-11-30 05:50

      kagiso perhaps step back and have another look ... The temporary accommodation offered to the seasonal workers was offered in an attempt to assist them in cutting down on their transport costs, nobody said they HAD to stay there. According to the labour law it is the workers responsibility to get themselves to and from work not the employers responsibility to provide transport. The farmers don't set the annual wage, the UNIONS do and this is set for a 12 month period, funny that the union employees earn far more than the farm workers. Perhaps you should stop waving your handbag around and ask why the unions set such an unjust wage and lay the accountability and responsibility at their doorstep. By the way ... if you ate something today thank a farmer for hanging in there and producing your food.

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 07:10

      Yes Kagiso. Fire them. No wage is better, yes?

      burningdogz - 2012-11-30 08:43

      So Kagiso, what exactly did the workers do to improve their own situation? Did they further their education in any way? Did they approach their boss with proposals to increase profits? Did they propose overtime shifts or increased targets or anything at all to improve the company to assist them in paying better? No. What about the government and unions? Did they do anything to improve the conditions of the workers? No. In fact, they set the minimum 'slave' wage everyone is suddenly so horrified about, not the 'baas'. In fact the only persons who somewhat improved the conditions of the workers was 'the baas' who gave them temporary living quarters to save them traveling costs. The only thing the farmers can be blamed of is maybe not doing enough, which is still more than anyone else did for the workers, including themselves...

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 09:04

      Then again... they could all go work at Zumaville... that's a theme park, right?

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 09:05

      Also, mechanise, mechanise, MECHANISE. A machine costs more, but it doesn't burn or steal. Result.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-11-30 09:14

      Kagiso, come next year these same people will have no work, no income, nothing. If they felt they could earn a better salary somewhere else they should have left the job they're in..

      carpejugulim - 2012-11-30 11:02

      @ kagiso the strange thing is that I do actually know what the labour act says about housing for farm workers, I also know and have worked alongside a hang of a lot of farm workers both permanent and seasonal and have seen both sides of the story. In your attempt to demonise farmers in their entirety you seem to be missing a couple of points 1. Farmers do not HAVE TO HAVE seasonal workers living on the property, many offer temporary accommodation and some transport in an effort to help the seasonal workers minimise transport costs and save money. 2. The seasonal workers do actually have a choice of finding alternative accommodation and transport at THEIR OWN COST and paying for it with their earnings. 3. The UNIONS set the minimum wage for a 12 month period, not the farmers. It is amazing what the UNIONS expect a person to support a family on for a year isn't it? Besides ... not all farmers are the demons you would like them to be and there are plenty of workers who are extremely grateful for the opportunity to earn.

      burningdogz - 2012-11-30 11:05

      @Kagiso, you are missing the point. I am not saying they should have university degrees nor am I saying they should implement a new payroll system. I am saying that at this point they have done nothing to improve their own situation except burning things down, which ironically will have the opposite effect. Secondly, if I want to improve my life I improve myself. This starts young: learning to read, write, some maths etc. And continues through uni. If they are unhappy with where they ar at, have they tried looking for better jobs, or posiions or opporunities or perhaps ask the farmer to enroll them in a course? The options are endless! You are right, you don't have to be paid minimum wage, but you don't have to be stuck at minimum qualification either. My main point is however far more simple, the farms like any business is about profit, and the farmers are working insde the law to maximise profit. Even labour is a question of supply and demand. So fundamentally the problem lies with the people who made the laws...and yet everyone blames the farmer and attacks them. The whole matter is being handled illogically.

  • Shane Prins - 2012-11-29 22:48

    tony is een dam kant

  • earthian.earthian - 2012-11-29 22:51

    Protect yourselves farmers... protect yourselves, your properties and your very livelihood by any and all means necessary!

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-29 23:12

    Farmworkers from all around SA should go and march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria and burn it to the ground rather than the places where they earn a living - because THAT is where the source of the problem is and by whom they have been let down and lied to consistently, but then told a pack of propaganda and racist drivel to shoo them away like stupid sheep. The Tony Ehreneichzs & ilk should be lined up against a wall and shot for treason against the nation of SA.

      StephDeGoede - 2012-11-30 04:33

      Not only that, but ultimately this has NOTHING to do with the poor man. 40% of all black people that can be considered "rich" is in gov. What does that tell you? It is the farmers, read again, the boere, that gave the workers jobs. The minimum lone is terribly low, but that is up to the gov. to fix through law. Housing etc. is also not counted in. Be that as it may, the gov. does not give a damn about (a) non-africans and (b) africans in the third class. The blue-collar hard working people. And yet, like you say, historical rehtoic, apartheid and other words are thrown around by what is essentially a communist organisation (working REALLY wel in NKorea). Tony E. Hope you part take in the protests.

  • StephDeGoede - 2012-11-30 04:23

    On the one hand Tony Ehrenreich says that this will lead to a civil war, with the loss of lives and damage to property. As if he has seen into the future.Through negative rehtoric he is indirectly giving the farm workers permission to pillage, rape, steal and kill. On the other hand, the minister of Defence is staying apathetic, and the Commisioner is saying that it is not yet war. One HAS to cemmend the WC, and the Comissioner, for the actions it is taking in preparing for this new wave of strikes, involving even the courts. You also have to recognise the new provinsial bill it is set to pass, to promote safety and security. At the same time a few issues are highlighted again. Cosatu believes it lieves in 1700's France, or early 1900's Russia and REFUSES to realise that in both cases a new dictator was simply put in place. The national gov. being bed-maidens with Cosatu et al., refuses to step in, seemingly willing, and possibly hoping, to let the violent strikes continue. Remember the strikes by Cosatu a few month back when one of their members was spotted with a gun, in the WC? Remember the rediculous open portable toilet situation? Would it be a stretch to think that the ANC gov. is purposefully allowing this because they know they cannot reclaim the WC democtratically? As long as the ANC is in control anywhere, the WC will never be able to prosper in te way it is supposed to, despite the DA.

  • igshaanp - 2012-11-30 04:42

    police warning farmworkers???k*k man why cant they warn cape flats gangsters,bangbroeker they no farm workers are harmless they just demanding more money because they get payed k*k while the gangsters kill innocent people.its due2our corrupt government and useless saps thank you

  • matshane.seleko - 2012-11-30 06:29

    It's not wrong to want to be paid a living wage.All working people deserve it.However,it is downright senseless to 'negotiate' for it by destroying the very institution that employs you.The SAPS must maintain law and order for the good of all south africans,and ignore all the negative comments directed at them.Destruction,incitement and intimidation will not solve anything,but will only lead to despair and produce victims.

      robert.kempen.7 - 2012-11-30 06:39

      well said

      tobie.schalkwyk.7 - 2012-11-30 07:08

      Matshane this is a senseless attitude planted & endorsed by our unions: if you want something, you toye-toye, kill, rape and burn down to prove your point. Then tomorrow you do the same to protest about the burnt down stuff that's not working anymore (remember the trains that were delayed due to a power failure). And in the mean time jobs and contracts are lost by the tons due to the damage done.

  • EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 06:39

    Vat hom Frikkie! But seriously, if you're committing a crime, or have the intent to commit a crime, don't cry when the cops stop you. With whatever means seems necessary.

  • pcblom81 - 2012-11-30 06:57 so we can all share our sentiments with the real puppet master. If you wanted to show your gratitude with a xmas gift his work postal add is PO Box 471, Salt River, Cape Town, 7925. Physical add 5th Floor, Salt River Centre, 358 Victoria Road, Salt River, Cape Town About time we started showing our gratitude at HIS place of work. Merry xmas Tony

      ian.despy - 2012-11-30 08:10

      Please send both locations GPS coordinates. Fury from the sky.

  • tobie.schalkwyk.7 - 2012-11-30 07:03

    Blah blah blah. These unions are on a mission to destroy anything that's good. Maybe we should give them the country to govern, since they dictate what government shall do anyway.

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-30 07:08

    Cosatu and unions can subsidise higher wages. They cause all the problems and should solve it as well. Cosatu has an endless cash supply from ANC corrupt government. By the way 'What is a living wage?'

      Shane Kelly - 2012-11-30 08:02

      i second that

  • Asdiedamwalbars - 2012-11-30 07:12

    He forget how Lebola declared violence and removal with force of the farmers from their farms a while ago. Also do he forget the daily farm attacks, murders and cowardly rape and assaults on old white farm/town/city woman..and most from 60 years to over 90 years.. Also do he forget about the old white man they plugged out of his vehicle, they turn the vehicle over and set it alight..then assault the old man who died afterwards of the injuries...the police had their hands full all over the area and could not assist all the time. Maybe it is him who suffer of great memory loss..of the problems the farmers face with these violence..he must remember that if the police again failed to assist everywhere ..our people got the right.. a basic human right to protect their lives and property.. We all hope that the trusting police service could do their job as he promised.. Or will there be excuses after excuses afterwards..First arrest those who promote burning of property and well as those with any dangerous weapon in their possession.

  • marilyn.docherty.9 - 2012-11-30 07:58

    I hope the police are ready and not just making themselves look good on paper!

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-30 09:15

      No. For rampaging, militant, terrorist criminals, burning private property and threatening lives.

  • Suzanne Viljoen - 2012-11-30 09:28

    Thanks for the warning! Ready for the innocent unemployed criminals that are being busloaded in from who knows where and being paid by who knows by?

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-30 10:32

    Analyziz, you still did not answer my question. 'What is a living wage?' I can ask this question to 1000 individuals and will get 2000 answers. The alternative to R70 a day is R0 a day. Now I ask the question again: 'What is a living wage if the alternative is R0 a day?' Think carefully before you answer this question, because officially there are 40% of South Africans without work. Does R70 per day not sound like a living wage now?

  • fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-12-04 07:43

    Can someone PLEASE get rid of Ehrenreich?

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